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    What's Your Dream?

    Christmas is the way to a better world. December 19, 2017 by Commissioner Susan McMillan
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    Photo: Matthew Osmond
    Photo: Commissioner Susan McMillan decorates a Christmas tree with a child from an Army daycare program

    Barbie’s Dream House. I could only dream of having one—until the Christmas morning it miraculously appeared under the tree in our living room. It was spectacular! My father and I spent all afternoon putting it together. Made entirely of cardboard, each piece had to be punched out and folded, with tabs inserted into their matching slots. There was a bed, wardrobe, sofa, coffee table and lamp, bookshelf complete with tiny books, chair and ottoman—even a hi-fi. By the time it was ready, it was bedtime, so I didn’t even get to play with it that first day. But play with it I did. I had it for years. It’s the one Christmas present that stands out in my memory. It was my dream house.

    Children dream about Christmas— what gifts they’ll receive, who will come to visit and what delights there will be to eat. (Doesn’t the poem talk about visions of sugar plums?)

    Mary wasn’t long out of childhood herself—likely still in her teens— when she and Joseph made the trek to Bethlehem. I wonder what her dreams were that first Christmas. Was she dreaming of her marriage to Joseph and the home they would have when they returned to Nazareth? Was she wondering what it would be like to raise a child? Was she imagining the future of this special Son, and the kind of man he would become?

    Mark Lowry’s Christmas song, Mary, Did You Know? contemplates what she might have been thinking that night. The song suggests she couldn’t have imagined Jesus would one day walk on water and calm the stormy sea. She couldn’t have dreamt he would give sight to the blind and make the lame walk. She certainly didn’t foresee he was the Lamb of God, who would be sacrificed for the salvation of the world.

    Well, I’m too old now to dream of Barbie dolls and cardboard furniture, so what are my Christmas dreams today? On the world stage, this has been a year of suffering and need, of natural and human-made disasters. I dream that someday hatred and violence will have no place in our world. I dream that children will not go hungry and that education will be available for all. I dream that children will be able to imagine a future that’s bright and hopeful, where they will be safe and loved.

    Do you dream of a better world? There is only one way to turn things around. The Apostle Peter preached about it in his first sermon after the anointing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He quoted from Scripture, from the prophet Joel: “ ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike—and they will prophesy ... [and] everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ ” (Acts 2:17-18, 21 NLT).

    The only solution for the world is for us to take the name of Jesus and his Christmas gift of forgiveness and salvation to the whosoever. We must live out the love of Christ in the world—spreading love instead of hatred in our communities, sharing from our bounty with those who have little and taking care that our actions do not harm others, even as we go about our normal day-today activities. We need to be mindful of the effect that our way of life can have on others, even across the globe.

    Yes, I’m still dreaming this Christmas. I dream that I will be able to make a difference, however small. And I dream of a day when “at the name of Jesus every knee [shall] bow … and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11 NLT).

    Commissioner Susan McMillan is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Follow her at facebook.com/susanmcmillantc and twitter.com/salvationarmytc.

    I Dream of a Day
    I dream of a day, not far, far away,
    When in the world of men the love of God shall be seen.
    All tears shall be dried, all need satisfied,
    Where men are warring now the peace of God intervene.
    This dream comes true wherever Christ is crowned,
    His coming stills the storm of strife.
    Wherever Jesus reigns there joy is found,
    And hope and peace and love and life.
    I dream of a day, not far, far away,
    When in the world of men the love of God shall be seen.
    —General John Gowans, from the musical Take Over Bid

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